Southeast Early Bird Experience Success with Southeast Students



March 17, 2006 – The College of Health and Human Services at Southeast Missouri State University has successfully piloted three courses this semester for students who want to be up before the sun.

The three general education courses, which take place from 7 to 7:50 a.m. on weekday mornings, have been designed for a number of people, including those employed full time who are scheduled to be at work by 8 a.m., fitness gurus who work out between 5 and 6 a.m. and enjoy taking a course just after their exercise routines, retirees who like taking a class before the campus is “buzzing” with activity and University employees wanting to take a class that doesn’t conflict with their work hours.

The Early Bird program is tailor-made for Kara Koeberl-Freeman, an agribusiness major from Jackson, Mo.  A junior at Southeast, Freeman is a single mom who has to fit both a job and school around spending time with her child.  Freeman is taking a housing perspectives course.

 “I feel like it is hard to combine it all to make it easy, especially for me,” she said. “This class makes my life easier because I am taking classes and working 20 hours a week in three days. This class allows me to do that.  It was the only time that I could take a class.”

Freeman said the Early Bird class allows her to take college classes and work three days a week while spending time with her daughter the other days. She says the class also forces her to get up in the morning and prepare for the rest of the day. There are many reasons students enjoy Early Bird classes, some as straightforward as creating a simpler schedule.  However, what students seem to enjoy most about the Early Bird courses is their instructors’ ability to engage them with new ideas so early in the morning.

“I enjoy the class because the teacher keeps us all awake by talking and asking questions,” said Danielle Ranzini, of her housing perspectives course with Michelle Brune, assistant professor of human environmental studies. 

A junior environmental studies major from Sappington, Mo., Ranzini said, “It is a very interactive course, and you need that at 7 a.m.  Also, it is convenient to be done for the day with your classes by 9 a.m.”

Jon-Erik Kern, a sophomore secondary education major from Benton, Mo., said he enjoys his “Sports in Society” class because of his instructor, Dr. Tim Rademaker, associate professor of health, human performance and recreation.

“I like the fact that I get the class over with, but I also like Dr. Rademaker a lot, and that’s the real reason why I’m taking this class,” Kern said.  “I heard he was a really good professor, and he really is.”

Omorhefe Salami, a junior human environmental studies major from St. Louis, said she not only enjoys her instructor, but also the content in her class.

“I enjoy the class having a relaxed environment,” she said.  “We have conversations that relate to our everyday lives concerning types of dwelling places or how people respond to different types of homes and their communities.  The class wakes me up and gets my mind working.”

Salami feels Southeast has contributed to her personal goals.

“Southeast has helped me develop as a person in the business world and has introduced me to a bigger variety of culture and arts.” 

Two Early Bird classes are being taught in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, and one is being taught in the Department of Human Environmental Studies.  The two in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation are PE201 “Sport and Society,” taught by Dr. Tim Rademaker, associate professor of health, human performance and recreation, and HL120 “Health Perspectives,” taught by Dr. Mark Langenfeld, professor of health, human performance and recreation.  The class in the Department of Human Environmental Studies is UI340 “Housing Perspectives,” taught by Michelle Brune, assistant professor of human environmental studies.

“I am thrilled with the success of this Early Bird pilot initiative,” said Dean Loretta Prater. 

She said there are plans to continue to offer 7 a.m. classes within the College of Health and Human Services. 

“I hope that more departments will pilot some 7 a.m. general education classes,” she said.